Russia: President of the European Commission and High Representative submit proposals for 5th sanctions package
Transcript of remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell:
“The European Union’s position has been very clear: we will continue to advance the sanctions as long as the Russian aggression continues.
We are today submitting proposals for the Council approval for more sanctions to further cripple Putin’s war machinery, following the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces in Bucha and other places under Russian occupation in Ukraine.
We continue to follow with horror the brutal siege of Mariupol and the haunting images of large number of civilian deaths and casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructures.
This adds to reports of inhuman and degrading treatment by the Russian occupation forces on the civilian population in Ukraine.
They show the true face of this war, the true face of the Kremlin and its war against Ukraine and its people.
We are now proposing for the Council approval to scale up bans on certain exports, including technologies and jet fuel. The proposals include: banning import of goods which provide significant revenue to the state budget, prohibiting import of some fuels, particularly coal.
We are also proposing further financial measures and prohibiting Russian vessels from entering EU ports.
The President of the Commission has elaborated in detail on these sectoral sanctions.
We are also extending the sanctions lists – adding dozens of people from politics, the business sector and engaged in propaganda activities, and also more entities from financial, military industrial and transport sectors, among them 4 important Russian banks that will not only be taken out from the Swift system, but will also be forbidden from participating in any kind of financial transactions in the EU.
Again, we are not targeting Russian people. We are targeting the Kremlin, the political and economic elites supporting Putin’s war in Ukraine.
The aim of our sanctions is to stop the reckless, inhuman and aggressive behaviour of the Russian troops and make clear to the decision makers in the Kremlin that their illegal aggression comes at a heavy cost.
We are also taking other steps in reaction to the murderous behaviour by the Kremlin and its troops.
Russia’s illegal and disruptive actions against the interests and security of the EU and our Members States, including breaching the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic relations, are not staying without a response.
That is why today, I decided to designate persona non grata a number of officials of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the EU for engaging in activities contrary to their diplomatic status.
The EEAS Secretary General is summoning the Russian Ambassador to the EU today to communicate this decision.”
Watch the video here: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-223528
And the President’s press statement:
Press statement by President von der Leyen on the fifth round of sanctions against Russia
“Check against delivery”
We all saw the gruesome pictures from Bucha and other areas from which Russian troops have recently left. Yesterday, I conveyed to President Zelenskyy my condolences and assured him of the European Commission’s full support in these terrible times. These atrocities cannot and will not be left unanswered. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes must not go unpunished. The EU has set up a Joint Investigation Team with Ukraine. Its task is to collect evidence and investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
Russia is waging a cruel and ruthless war, not only against Ukraine’s brave troops, but also against its civilian population. It is important to sustain utmost pressure on Putin and the Russian government at this critical point. The four packages of sanctions have hit hard and limited the Kremlin’s political and economic options. We are seeing tangible results. But clearly, in view of events, we need to increase our pressure further. Today, we are proposing to take our sanctions a step further. We will make them broader and sharper, so that they cut even deeper in the Russian economy.
This fifth package has six pillars. First, we will impose an import ban on coal from Russia, worth EUR 4 billion per year. This will cut another important revenue source for Russia.
Second: a full transaction ban on four key Russian banks, among them VTB, the second largest Russian bank. These four banks, which we now totally cut off from the markets, represent 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector. This will further weaken Russia’s financial system.
Third: a ban on Russian vessels and Russian-operated vessels from accessing EU ports. Certain exemptions will cover essentials, such as agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid as well as energy. Additionally, we will propose a ban on Russian and Belarusian road transport operators. This ban will drastically limit the options for the Russian industry to obtain key goods.
Fourth: further targeted export bans, worth EUR 10 billion, in areas in which Russia is vulnerable. This includes, for example, quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, but also sensitive machinery and transportation equipment. With this, we will continue to degrade Russia’s technological base and industrial capacity.
Fifth: specific new import bans, worth EUR 5.5 billion, to cut the money stream of Russia and its oligarchs, on products from wood to cement, from seafood to liquor. In doing this, we also close loopholes between Russia and Belarus.
Sixth: We take a number of very targeted measures, such as a general EU ban on participation of Russian companies in public procurement in Member States, or an exclusion of all financial support, be it European or national, to Russian public bodies. Because European tax money should not go to Russia in whatever shape or form.
Finally, we are also proposing further listings of individuals, which HR/VP, Josep Borrell, will explain to you. But this is not all. We are working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports, and we are reflecting on some of the ideas presented by the Member States, such as taxes or specific payment channels such as an escrow account.
Today, more than 40 countries apply sanctions like these. To take a clear stand is not only crucial for us in Europe, but also for the rest of the world. A clear stand against Putin’s war of choice. A clear stand against the massacre of civilians. And a clear stand against the violation of the fundamental principles of the world order.